I wrote this response to a Buffy musical article on my Tumblr account:
Buffy the Vampire SlayerCreator Joss Whedon Hopes to See the Show Sing on Broadway
Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon hopes to bring the popular TV series to Broadway someday. Whedon expressed interest in a Buffy musical several years ago and still hopes the project becomes a reality, according to DigitalSpy.com.
“I can’t say that I will, or that by the time I try to, anyone would want me to, but yeah, I think [Buffy] belongs [on Broadway],” Whedon said at Comic-Con on July 24 while discussing his upcoming superhero film, The Avengers.
Adapted from Whedon’s 1992 film of the same name, Buffy the Vampire Slayer aired from 1997 to 2003 and starred Sarah Michelle Gellar as the title hero. In 2001 Whedon wrote and directed a popular musical episode for the series’ sixth season, “Once More With Feeling.”
All right, so I’m a big Buffy fan. T-Shirts, Posters, Seasons on DVD, Season 8 in TPB, Motion Comic on iTunes, a tattoo planned… and I like “Once More With Feeling”, I really do. But, that being said, I think that the show wouldn’t hold up on Broadway without some major overhauling.
First, the music just doesn’t really hold up compared to anything else on Broadway. It just doesn’t. It’s simple, cheesy and, probably most importantly, not simply one story specific. Characters refer to other episodes and plots that aren’t central to “Once More With Feeling”. So while fans will be pumped about seeing it done professionally on the big stage with real Broadway actors performing the songs, I don’t think that anyone who hasn’t seen the show will get it. So on top of the music itself not being up to par, the story itself isn’t self-contained which will turn away a general audience.
I think a Buffy musical could draw an audience, with people clamoring more more vampire anything, so maybe it can create an interest with younger folks, tweens, those who wouldn’t necessarily be interested in a Broadway musical otherwise. Whedon would have to tell a completely separate story, though, one that doesn’t references seven seasons worth of history. He could place it at any point in Buffy canon, though, using whatever characters he’d want to. It would satisfy the long time fans to see a new story with their favorite, perhaps no longer existing characters and it would prevent confusion with new audiences.
Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog has proven that Whedon can put together a solid story, good music that can compete with other shows out there and create a cult classic that appeals to a wide variety of people. The right cast helped. People LOVE Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), Nathan Fillion (Castle) and Felicia Day (The Guild, Dragon Age). So couple a team like what Whedon had with Dr. Horrible and another fantastic cast to reprise the roles of our favorite Scooby Gang, and he can create a smash hit.
After all, people pay for Spider-Man on Broadway and even Evil Dead had its shot. Who knows? With the right reconfiguration, geek might actually mix with musical theatre.